Final Call for NASA’s RASSOR Bucket Drum Challenge

The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) is in the regolith bin inside Swamp Works at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A team from the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Lab tests the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) in the regolith bin inside Swamp Works at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 5, 2019. Tests use a gravity assist offload system to simulate reduced gravity conditions found on the Moon. On the surface of the Moon, mining robots like RASSOR will excavate the regolith and take the material to a processing plant where usable elements such as hydrogen, oxygen and water can be extracted for life support systems. RASSOR can scoop up icy regolith, which can be used to make operations on the Moon sustainable. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

There is still time to submit an entry to NASA’s Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) Bucket Drum Design Challenge. Entries are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT Monday, April 20. A total of $7,000 will be awarded for the top five submissions.

NASA is holding a competition for participants to design an improved bucket drum for RASSOR, a robotic platform designed to dig on the Moon. RASSOR’s current design has counter-rotating bucket drums mounted on moveable arms positioned on either end of the robot. As the bucket drums rotate and start to dig, the forces balance out. This means RASSOR is well suited for excavating in low gravity, because it does not have to rely on its weight or traction to dig.

To enter the competition, go to the GrabCAD website that hosts the challenge and submit an original design with CAD files and a short description of how the design works. The competition is open to eligible individuals.

The challenge is funded by NASA’s Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative within the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), which champions technologies needed to live on and explore the Moon supporting NASA’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and next man on the Moon. NASA Tournament Lab, part of STMD’s Prizes and Challenges program, manages the challenge. The program supports the use of public competitions and crowdsourcing as tools to advance NASA R&D and other mission needs.

Learn more about opportunities to participate in your space program via NASA prizes and challenges: